EU has set some key priorities for Albania to get it ready to join EU such as fight against corruption, which is considered to be an issue of concern as it is prevalent in many areas and it threatens the stability of democratic institutions and the rule of law. This area has been a particular focus of the European Union since the opening of negotiations.
State Supreme Audit, which is the highest institution of economic and financial control in the country, conducts periodic audits and there are almost the same findings each year: the biggest violations with significant effects on the state budget, and not only, are related to mismanagement of revenues, inadequate management in the process of using public funds, mismanagement of state property followed by procedural irregularities and inefficiencies in conducting public procurement procedures. According to the State Supreme Audit, corruption is the cause of many problems such as economic loss, it hinders development, victimizes moral people and businesses, discourages investments, distorts politics, and undermines democracy. Enhancing transparency, surveillance and accountability, in particular ensuring the effective, efficient and transparent functioning of the public procurement system and public finance management, remains essential. The control of political party funding needs to be improved as well.
Considerable efforts are needed to ensure valuable consultation with civil society actors as part of a comprehensive reform dialogue and proper representation in the National Council of Civil Society. I want to mention here that government often ignores and insults members of civil society. Before the Anti-Defamation Law was approved, civil society pointed out that it falls short of international standards and principles of media freedom and raise concerns about increased censorship and self-censorship, and about possible setbacks on media right to freedom of expression in the country but the government disregarded it. When the Venice Commission issued an opinion, representatives from the ruling majority committed to follow up on the guidance of its opinion.
As pertain to human rights further efforts are needed regarding the consolidation of property right. Due to the mess on properties issues, there are a lot of cases before the court and the right to trial within reasonable time is being violated to many people. Many disputes arising from property issues have ended in murder and this causes a chain of revenge.
In addition, there is social and economic inequality, which causes loss of trust in public institutions, it makes riots to break out and increases social instability. Albania is currently dealing with angry protestors throughout the country demanding justice. A lot of young people do not want to live in Albania and many others leave the country every day because of poverty, unemployment, and lack of opportunities and the branches of study offered by public universities, which means that if Albania joins the European Union now there will be a demographic crisis. There is also an obvious link between migration and corruption.
As corruption creates and feeds on poverty, underdevelopment and weak institutions, efforts need to be focused on economic development. To improve competitiveness and long-term economic growth, Albania needs in particular to increase spending on education and research, improve public investment planning and implementation, improve local technical support services for micro, small and medium enterprises, to help them invest, be innovative, and export.
Author: Brikena Lena, student at Faculty of Law, University of Tirana, LDA Albania